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Health & Safety
in Cancun & the Riviera Maya

Given the A(H1N1) swine flu scare first thought to have originated in Mexico City and the terrible press that Mexico has gotten in the American and Canadian media recently with regard to the drug wars, I thought it important to pass on some information and thoughts from some of those who live here or who have visited recently.

A(H1N1) swine flu:

There were 0 reported cases in Cancun or the Riviera Maya.

For those who are wondering how this whole swine flu thing got started:

Drug Wars & General Safety:
TRAVEL WARNING !!   Are you nervous about traveling to Mexico due to all of the reports of violence?  Please don't be.  Here are some articles that can help put the hype in perspective..... click for link to article.

- EFAM - Safety in Mexico: Reality vs Sensationalist Media Hype - Dec. 12/12
- Lonley Planet Blog - Are Americans Safer in Mexico than at Home - April 30/12.
- LA Times - US State Department maps out Unsafe areas of Mexico - Feb. 11/12
- Is Cancun Safe website
- Calgary Herald -
I Went to Mexico and Didn't Get Killed - Jan. 7/2012
Riviera Maya Safer than Orlando - January 3/2012
- Calgary Herald -
Mexico Safer than the Headlines Suggest - December 17/2011
- Michelle Obama visit to Mexico City
- John Scherber (author) blog -
Let's tell the truth about Mexico - December 3/2011
- Pelican Free Press - Mexico unfairly blamed for world drug angst
- November 3/2011
- San Francisco Chronicle -
Mexico - Safer than the Headlines Indicate - August 2011
- CNN Travel -
Why you should go to Mexico - May 2011
- Fox News - Is Mexico safe for Vacationing - May 2011
- AOL Travel - How Safe is Mexico - March 2011
- Travel Reader - The Mexico Quandary: Safety or Savings - Dec. 2010
- Travel Weekly - Mexico's Tourism Secretary debunks Fears & Fiction - November 22/2010
- The Economist - Mexico safer than Canada - August 27/2010
 Insight into the statistics
- What if the shoe were on the other foot? - Oct. 7/2011 
Some Thoughts on Violent Crime & Tourism
- AOL Travel - March 31/2010 
How Safe is Mexico?

- Seattle Times - March 22/10  How Safe is Travel in Mexico?
- Marlo Renay-Heresco (travel blog of a single, Canadian woman living in Cancun - March 28/2010  Is Cancun Safe?
- Chicago International Travel Examiner  How Safe is Mexico Travel for 2010
- Is Travel to Mexico Safe?
- San Francisco Gate - Behind the Headlines: Safety in Mexico
- RiverGirl 'an American woman living in Cancun' (see comments below article too)  Is Cancun safe for Tourists?

Follow these links for more on the subject from people who live or recently visited here:

Here is the link to the US State Department web site.  This web site is where the US Government provides information on International Travel.  This includes official Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.  Please see the definitions of each and note the areas where the problems are located is far from Cancun and the Riviera Maya

Here is a recent article discussing the US governments Travel Alert to Mexico and what it means.

Here is the link to the Canadian Governments official website to provide information to Canadians planning to travel abroad.  Here too they list Travel Warnings and Travel Reports.  You will note that there is NO official Travel Warning to Mexico.  There is a Travel Report that advises to use extra caution if traveling in Mexico near the border with the USA (this is over 2000 miles or 3200 Km from us here on the Riviera Maya)

Here is the link to the UK Governments official web site to provide information to citizens of the UK planning travel abroad.  Mexico is not listed as a country to avoid travel to although there is advise to take extra caution in the areas near the US border.


We have numerous guests visit recently and in light of the general concern out there, we are in the process of asking them to share their experiences with others who may be concerned about their safety.  We will be posting these comments here as they come in.


This February '09 trip was my 7th vacation in Mexico spanning a period of about 15 years. Honestly, I felt no less safe on this trip than I did on any of the others. We walked on the beach, we wandered around in Akumal, we sunbathed relentlessly! Sure we locked the front door when we were out in the back of the house, but I do that when I am working in the yard at my home in Kentucky! You're right, the media reports are a little unnerving. To be honest, there was one in our group who was particularly antsy. The rest of us just ignored her! Hope that helps, or some of it anyway.
Julie Ossege

We had a great time in Puerto Aventuras – were there in 2007 also.  We felt very safe at our condo and in the little village area by the restaurants.  We were never out past 8-9pm there.  We met the man who is the night “guard” at the Quinta Maya.   Advice: Watch the speed limits on the highway.  We were stopped by “police” for “speeding”.  As we were on our way to the airport, we could not stay overnight and appear at the police station in Playa del Carmen.  So the police willingly took our $100.00 instead.  Doubt that it ever made it to the police station. We did see police cars on the highway (even frisking men) but that did not frighten us. 
Al and Liz Posthuma
NOTE from Doug: for more on Speeding and the Police, see Frequently Asked Questions #8A

Would it be improper to post that the most danger we got in was one of the ladies we were with drank too much fell down on the walk back to Mayan Waters?   Just kidding, I will draft you something tomorrow. I promise.
Pete Glenn

Hi Andra/Doug, My Brothers and Sisters and Spouses had an absolutely fabulous time and totally enjoyed our stay @ Brisa Caribe in January, 2009. The amenities that were available to us both at the house as well as in the resort were 2nd to none. All 12 of us felt totally safe the entire time that we were in Mexico whether we were traveling in a group or individually. We found the Mexican people to be friendly and helpful and a lot of fun. We did everything from deep sea fishing to strolling the streets of Playa Del Carmen to snorkelling to visiting ruins in Tulum and everything in between. We made all of our own arrangements and just took cabs to all of our destinations and felt safe and secure the whole time.  I’m sure that there are some unwanted elements in Mexico, but we have unwanted elements here at home in Canada as well. Common sense runs a long way towards not putting yourself in a bad position whether you are at home or abroad. The media likes to hype the negative in order to sell more newspapers and garner more sensationalism about whatever it is that they are reporting about. People need to put it in perspective.  Hope life is treating you well.
Phil Prefontaine

Hello Andra,You are so right that this is being exaggerated to the point of scaring people away from Mexico.  We have been going there for 15 years with very little trouble or concern.  We have known people who have had to pay off the police for a traffic infraction that really did not happen.  We (and many others) have been ripped off by a gas station attendant - but only once because now we know how to avoid that from happening.  That being said, we have never been worried for our safety.  It is unfortunate that this happens in Mexico but it does not deter us.  The majority of the Mexican people are wonderful and helpful to us.  We tell people that the same common sense you use at home should be exercised on your holiday - regardless of where you go.  There are areas of our home town that we avoid because of the safety factor.  We will continue to visit the Mayan Riviera.
Regards, Mark & Cindy Wiggins
NOTE from Doug: for more on Speeding and Gas Station rip offs, see Frequently Asked Questions #8A

We stayed in Mayan Waters from 2/10/09 through 2/18/09. We traveled quite a bit throughout the region to all of the normal attractions, as well as some sightseeing on our own. We visited Tulum, Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel as Cancun. We had a car, so we made day trips nearly everyday.  This was our 4 trip to Puerto the last 5 years.  I can honestly say that I have never felt anything but perfectly safe in Puerto, and this recent trip was no different. There is Police activity and presence on the highway, specifically RT 307, but that is not unusual. They can tend to slow the pace, and appear to be much more focused on speeders than anything else. (I should know, I got to meet them personally). Playa seemed as it always has, Cozumel was normal. We did take several cabs in Cozumel to some more remote snorkeling areas, and felt as safe as we ever have. The US beat Mexico in a CONCACAF qualifying round that day, which allowed for some good natured ribbing with the cab drivers.  We are currently booking a return trip to Puerto Adventuras in July 2009. If we had any safety concerns at all, we would obviously would not be making a return trip so soon. We have a vacation property in Florida that is available to us at anytime, but certainly prefer the peaceful nature of Mexico over that of South Florida.   It would appear that the National Media is making a fairly large deal about the drug traffic in Mexico and the risks that travelers can incur. I would tend to agree with them regarding some of the border communities far more than I would in a more southern vacation spot like Puerto Aventuras.  I would be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our recent, or previous trips. thanks
Pete Glenn

Hi Andra,  We were blissfully unaware that there were safety concerns. Before leaving on our trip I knew of the violence around Tijuana and other border towns, but didn’t expect issues where we were near Tulum.  There was never a time that we felt concern for our safety. We noticed the presence of armed soldiers in trucks, but we didn’t see any reason to be worried of their presence on the highways. We would recommend this area to anyone and definitely look forward to returning.  All the best, 
Randy Frantz

Hello Andra & Doug,  Our stay at Carine Villa was great! very relaxing and we all felt safe!
The Vanderlindes

We spent a week in Puerto Aventuras in January 2009, and it was heavenly!! We traveled with two young children, and I can honestly say that there was not a moment where I felt any concern for our safety. PA is a beautiful, tranquil place with warm people and lovely surroundings. We are already plotting for a return trip-- PA is truly a paradise!    
Amy Bohnert, Ph.D.


Hello Andrea, I am a little surprised the media would report these areas unsafe. We have been spending our holidays in PA for the past 5 years (we are lucky, we know). Never did we feel worried about our safety. Of course, we applied the same safety rules as we do at home or in any other countries. Having said that, it doesn't mean staying put  ... We have visited Riviera Maya's areas south and north of PA by our own means (rented a car) and it was great, there are so many beautiful sights to visit !  That is how we experienced our holidays, hoping many others will also ! 
Best regards,  Lemieux Family

Doug and Andra,  We felt safer and more relaxed than we do here in Wheat Ridge Colorado.  We were so pleased with Puerto we rented a place for a year and plan on moving  as soon as my husband retires.  We love the place and people and plan on doing volunteer work as soon as we get settled in.  We traveled all over as we rented a car for 2 weeks. We went to Coba and Tulum, Playa Del Carmen several times and Puerto Morelos several times and took my brother and wife to the airport in Cancun. We love the people and feel very safe with them. We didn't run into any drug cartels either!  Thanks Again for your help finding a wonderful place to stay,
Leola Zengeler & family

I was with the Kettelkamps in February and had the best vacation!   I’ve been to Mexico 15 times and have never had a problem, until this year. But my problem was while driving and not in Puerto Aventuras.  I was warned about driving in  Mexico and this was the first time I’d rented a car. Upon leaving the airport- we were followed for some time by a federal police car. The next day, within 5 miles of leaving P.A. I was pulled over and told I was speeding which I was NOT. The police then told me it was $180 to pay ticket or I could pay him $50. It was quite the ordeal.  I grabbed my cell phone to call Dick . The officer wanted to know who I was calling and if they were a resident. I said yes and that I was told to call him if I was ever pulled over. They immediately let me leave. My first bad experiences in Mexico- otherwise it was wonderful
Cindy Ek
NOTE from Doug: for more on Speeding and Gas Station rip offs, see Frequently Asked Questions #8A

We were just there for spring break in March.  We had a fabulous time..  We were nervous about traveling due to the media reports, but we did not have a single problem.  In fact, everything seemed exactly as it was when we traveled there the year before.  We even rented a car in Cancun and drove all the way to Tulum.  We never saw anything odd at all.  We felt very safe the whole week.  Believe me, we would never take our children somewhere unsafe, so I can definitely say that it was just fine.  No worries.
Stacey Sembrick

We wanted to let you know what a great week we had. Our condo was fantastic & worked out so well for us. Everything was just as you described it & we want to compliment you on the helpfulness of the information on your website. We brought along a lot of the information off your site & referred to it many times. Your attention to detail has not gone unnoticed by us & ensured that our holiday was great. Thank you Andra in helping with the details & the prompt responses to my emails. As you will recall I was leery booking online etc but it was all really good. I will be telling at least 10 friends so hopefully you'll get some more Alberta business!  This holiday was special for us as we have never taken a big holiday with our kids. Our oldest is graduating in May & we wanted a really special week together, not knowing when we would have the opportunity in the future. Thank you for helping us to do that. We are going to return in the future! 
Nancy Aspenes,

I felt completely safe, and truly, the information in the media never crossed my mind once...When I travel to Los Angeles, I don’t worry about the Crips and Bloods, and every day in Maryland and Washington DC I don’t think about MS13, so I think that any American with common sense knows that the media just sells fear.  Brisa Caribe and Puerto Aventuras are clearly as safe as any other sensible place to be...just like most areas of Los Angeles or Washington DC!  The area was fantastic...
Dan Simons

Hello,  We had a lovely time in March 2009 with our three children in Puerto Aventuras.  This included travelling daily by rental car to places such as Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, Tulum and inland to Coba and Valladolid.  We never felt unsafe or threatened in any way.  There are undoubtedly violent criminal acts in Mexico, which we read about in the local newspapers, however, we felt safe in the Mayan Riviera. 

We were definitely more aware of our surroundings when we were there this time, but at no time did we feel uneasy or fear for our safety. We had rental cars and drove everywhere.  We did notice that there seemed to be more check points on the main road which made us feel safer. After a few days in paradise we did not even think about it! We had an overnight layover in LA, and I was far more concerned at the area around our hotel near the airport there than anywhere in Mexico!  I would return to paradise tomorrow if I could! It was so peaceful and relaxing. Thank you for a wonderful vacation.  We will be back.
Julie Dickerson, April 2009

We had a great time in Puerto Aventuras. We all loved the condo, very comfortable, well equipped, great location, great beach. Antonio was very helpful.  Regarding safety: We did not feel any danger. Puerto Aventuras is a really safe place.  We traveled a little - to Xel-Ha and Akumal and felt the same. All people there appear  relaxed. Only CNN reminded us that there is something going on in the area. Thank you for everything,
Best regards,
Natalie Kisler, April 2009



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Brisa Caribe offers Mexico vacation & holiday villa & condo rental accommodation on the Mayan Riviera in the resorts of Akumal, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Tulum, Tankah, and Cancun.  We have luxurious Riviera Maya villas and condos for rent by the week in Puerto Aventuras, South Akumal, Solimon Bay, Jade Bay, Tankha, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Cancun.  Please contact us for any of your Mexico Maya Riviera vacation and holiday villa and condo rental needs.

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